You’ve got a pallet load of goods to move into storage areas. But the pallet is situated in an active storage aisle, where forklift trucks often travel. What methods can be used to help reduce the chances that you, or your pallet load isn’t impacted?
Every time you work in a trafficked aisle, the worse the odds
Every year approximately 85 people die from forklift related injuries. Of that number, 20% are workers on foot who were struck by a forklift. Over and above those numbers are the injury stats – 39,000 serious injuries a year. Of those, about 2,300 are forklift injuries. If you have forklifts in your facility, you will have a serious forklift injury incident – the odds are against you: 11% of all forklifts are involved in injury incidents annually.
You also know that people get busy. Workers who are manually depalletizing a load are working on that load. Forklift drivers are trying to retrieve or deliver pallets. But if you’re on the ground, like a cyclist on a busy road, the burden for your personal safety should always be on you.
Separate people and forklifts when possible
First and foremost, separate your forklift and pedestrian traffic to specific travel lanes whenever you can. For normal traffic lanes, defined plans that give both the forklift drivers and pedestrians an assigned walk way or traffic aisle are mandatory for any smart safety plan.
But what can you do for aisles that must be shared? First and foremost, process should be created that inform and reduce this mingling of traffic. People working in those aisles to load racks or pick cartons from lower levels should be shielded from that traffic as much as possible. When they’re working, forklifts should stay out. But we know that’s not always possible, so what are some options to help enforce that dynamic, or protect workers when you can’t help it?
Install motion sensors at ends of aisles or utilize technology like proximity sensors on forklifts to detect people in limited visibility aisles and around corners. Place physical barriers like guard rail to protect workstations, and use floor marking tape to demarcate forklift travel zones within work zones. Institute forklift safety training for all workers and limit visitors to prescribed areas unless escorted. Also, visibility mirrors are an effective and inexpensive way to help drivers be more aware of the people around them in many situations.
Temporary barriers help warn drivers before they enter an aisle
Despite your best efforts to keep pedestrians out of forklift traffic zones, there are going to be times when workers on foot and forklifts must share space. This is very typical in a warehousing situation. In those situations, use portable physical barriers on hand so that workers can set them up to warn drivers of activity in the lane.
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source: “Temporary Safety Barriers Can Reduce Accidents and Save Lives.” cisco-eagle.com Cisco-Eagle, March, 2016. Web. Dec. 17th, 2017.